Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Fatal Games (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review

Collapse
X
Collapse
  •  
    Ian Jane
    Administrator

  • Fatal Games (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review

    Click image for larger version  Name:	cover.jpg Views:	1 Size:	40.9 KB ID:	428981

    Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
    Released on: January 30th, 2024.
    Director: Michael Elliot
    Cast: Sally Kirkland, Lynn Banashek, Sean Masterson, Michael O'Leary
    Year: 1984
    Purchase From Amazon

    Fatal Games – Movie Review:

    Michael Elliot’s 1984 slasher, Fatal Games, is based around The Falcon Academy, somewhere in Massachusetts, where various students enrolled at the establishment are preparing for an upcoming athletics competition. We see this as the opening credits play out, a synth-heavy score propelling the action and letting us know immediately and with no uncertain doubt that we are firmly set in the mid-eighties.

    From here, we spend the first reel or so watching different thinly characterized students prepare for the competition, goofing around in the dorm, having some fun the locker room – that type of thing. What no one realizes, at least not at first, is that there’s a lunatic running around with a javelin killing off some of the students. The adult staff takes their sweet time figuring this out, but the victims all seem to be on the team led by Dr. Jordine (played by the director himself), who has been giving some of the competitors under his watch some performance enhancing drugs!

    A few more murders occur, causing the rest of the athletes registered in the competition to try and figure out who is behind the killings and why – but will they be able to solve this before it’s too late?

    Co-written by director Michael Elliot with Rafael Buñuel (Luis Buñuel's son!) and Christopher Mankiewicz, Fatal Games is shockingly low on gore and bloodshed but rife with ample nudity and remarkably bad dialogue. None of the characters have any real personality and the acting is never anything to write home about (though it is neat to see Sally Kirkland play a nurse who is really into massaging female students!), but somehow the movie entertains regardless. To be clear, there’s very little in the way of original ideas on display and this is very much a by the numbers slasher, albeit one that’s missing the gore that’s typically the draw for the genre, but it has something to it that makes it perfectly watchable in spite of, or maybe somehow because of, all of these qualities.

    So, yeah, this one won’t likely blow your mind and while it has a low bloodshed quotient there’s enough reasonably wonky dialogue, oddball characters and the aforementioned nudity all working in the movie’s favor. Originality clearly wasn’t much of a concern on the part of the filmmakers but the movie is decent in its pacing and the opening theme song that plays over the first few minutes of the movie is catchy as Hell. The movie does earn some bonus points for a twist ending that you probably won’t see coming, it’s definitely out there and, let’s be honest, it’s kind of fun to see red shirt types get killed by a lunatic with a javelin.

    Fatal Games – Blu-ray Review:

    Fatal Games arrives on Blu-ray from Vinegar Syndrome in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen “newly scanned & restored in 4K from a 35mm dupe negative.” The source material used was clearly, and naturally, quite grainy and there is some color fading noticeable but this is a solid presentation with any problems noticeable stemming back to the available source. Given that this movie hasn’t been issued on home video since the VHS days, this obviously provides a pretty big step up from that edition. Detail is good and skin tones look fine. Compression artifacts aren’t ever a problem and the transfer always looks like proper film.

    The only audio option on the disc is a 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono track in English with optional subtitles provided in English only. There’s a bit of sibilance and occasionally some minor hiss but overall, the track is properly balanced and perfectly serviceable, giving some depth to the score and foley effects.

    A commentary track with podcaster Bill Ackerman and author Amanda Reyes starts off the extra features on the disc. It’s a solid examination of the movie, giving you all the details on the cast and crew that you could hope for as well as information on the locations used in the movie, how Rafael Buñuel wound up involved in this, thoughts on what works and what doesn’t, the music used in the film, details on who did what behind the scenes, the movie’s distribution and lots more. It’s thorough, well-paced and interesting.

    The Winning Touch is an interview with actress Tracie Hellberg (formerly Lynn Banashek) that runs eight minutes and sees her talk about her background and training, her gymnastics experience, how Linnea Quigley body-doubled for her, what it was like on set and how she feels about the movie a few decades after making it.

    Going For Gold interviews actor Sean Masterson for eleven minutes where he talks about how he got into acting, landing the part in Fatal Games, getting along with the cast and crew, wanting to cash in on the success of the slasher boom that was tearing up the box office during this period and more.

    Actor Michael O'Leary is up next in Death On The Staircase where he spends ten minutes talking about having to undergo some gymnastics training to secure the role, memories of what it was like on set, his co-stars, some of the sound work in the movie and other details related to his work on the picture.

    A Great Day At The Office is an interview with actress Melissa Prophet running nine minutes where she talks about how she got the role, how her experience as a dancer helped her get the part, getting along with her co-stars and thoughts on how the movie turned out.

    It's the Taking Part That Counts is an interview with actress Spice Williams-Crosby that runs six minutes and lets her go over how she and her twin sister got into music which led to her getting into acting, landing her part in Fatal Games, thoughts on her character and playing the role as best she could and how the movie proved to be a stepping stone in her acting career.

    Cutting Gym Class interviews editor/associate producer Jonathon Braun, ACE, that runs nine minutes and sees him talking about his background and training, his entry into the film business, how he got into editing, befriending Michael Elliot and working on this picture with him and more.

    Finishing up the extras on the disc is an archival artwork and behind-the-scenes photo gallery, an original The Killing Touch title card, a theatrical trailer, menus and chapter selection options.

    Packaging includes some reversible cover sleeve art and, if purchased directly from Vinegar Syndrome’s website, you can opt to include a limited edition spot gloss slipcover(designed by Chris Barnes and limited to 8,000 units.

    Fatal Games - The Final Word:

    Fatal Games is a fairly generic slasher up until its final twist, but it is at least an entertaining one and Vinegar Syndrome has done an impressive job of rescuing it from obscurity and giving it a really strong Blu-ray release with a solid presentation and a host of interesting extra features.



    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized Fatal Games Blu-ray screen caps!

    Click image for larger version  Name:	1.jpg Views:	1 Size:	418.2 KB ID:	428983

    Click image for larger version  Name:	2.jpg Views:	1 Size:	436.0 KB ID:	428985

    Click image for larger version  Name:	3.jpg Views:	1 Size:	407.1 KB ID:	428982

    Click image for larger version  Name:	4.jpg Views:	1 Size:	460.5 KB ID:	428987

    Click image for larger version  Name:	5.jpg Views:	1 Size:	406.2 KB ID:	428984

    Click image for larger version  Name:	6.jpg Views:	1 Size:	386.9 KB ID:	428993

    Click image for larger version  Name:	7.jpg Views:	1 Size:	416.9 KB ID:	428994

    Click image for larger version  Name:	8.jpg Views:	1 Size:	123.9 KB ID:	428988

    Click image for larger version  Name:	9.jpg Views:	1 Size:	280.7 KB ID:	428991

    Click image for larger version  Name:	10.jpg Views:	1 Size:	310.0 KB ID:	428992

    Click image for larger version  Name:	11.jpg Views:	1 Size:	420.2 KB ID:	428986

    Click image for larger version  Name:	12.jpg Views:	1 Size:	510.6 KB ID:	428996

    Click image for larger version  Name:	13.jpg Views:	1 Size:	435.9 KB ID:	428995

    Click image for larger version  Name:	14.jpg Views:	1 Size:	184.6 KB ID:	428989

    Click image for larger version  Name:	15.jpg Views:	1 Size:	258.7 KB ID:	428990

      Posting comments is disabled.

    Latest Articles

    Collapse

    • Impulse (Grindhouse Releasing) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Grindhouse Releasing
      Released on: March 12th, 2024.
      Director: William Grefé
      Cast: William Shatner, Jennifer Bishop, Ruth Roman, Harold Sakata
      Year: 1974
      Purchase From Amazon

      Impulse – Movie Review:

      Directed by the one and only William Grefé, 1974’s Impulse is one of those rare films that allows you to witness what it would be like if a really sweaty William Shatner got mad at a lady carrying balloons. Before that
      ...
      04-15-2024, 01:20 PM
    • Lisa Frankenstein (Universal Studios) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Universal Studios
      Released on: April 9th, 2024.
      Director: Zelda Williams
      Cast: Kathryn Newton, Cole Sprouse, Carla Gugino, Joe Chrest, Henry Eikenberry
      Year: 2024
      Purchase From Amazon

      Lisa Frankenstein – Movie Review:

      The feature-length directorial debut of Zelda Williams, 20214’s Lisa Frankenstein takes place in 1989 and follows a teenaged girl named Lisa Swallows (Kathryn Newton) who, two years ago, lost her mother
      ...
      04-03-2024, 03:40 PM
    • Spider Labyrinth (Severin Films) UHD/Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Severin Films
      Released on: April 30th, 2024.
      Director: Gianfranco Giagni
      Cast: Roland Wybenga, William Berger, Stéphane Audran
      Year: 1988
      Purchase From Amazon

      Spider Labyrinth – Movie Review:

      Professor Alan Whitmore (Roland Wybenga) is an American who works as a Professor of languages studies and has a fascination bordering on obsession with translating pre-Christian religious texts. He was also locked in a closet
      ...
      04-03-2024, 03:37 PM
    • Special Silencers (Mondo Macabro) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Mondo Macabro
      Released on: April 9th, 2024.
      Director: Arizal
      Cast: Barry Prima, Eva Arnaz, W.D. Mochtar
      Year: 1982
      Purchase From Amazon

      Special Silencers – Movie Review:

      When director Arizal’s 1982 epic begins, we meet a man named Gumilar (W.D. Mochtar), a sinister dude who has constantly bloodshot eyes. He’s meeting with a man about some sort of business deal, but a flashback shows us how some time ago he killed
      ...
      04-03-2024, 03:35 PM
    • The Playgirls And The Vampire (Vinegar Syndrome) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Vinegar Syndrome
      Released on: March 26th, 2024.
      Director: Piero Regnoli
      Cast: Walter Brandi, Lyla Rocco, Maria Giovannini, Alfredo Rizzo, Marisa Quattrini, Leonardo Botta
      Year: 1960
      Purchase From Amazon

      The Playgirls And The Vampire – Movie Review:

      Piero Regnoli’s 1960 goofy gothic horror, The Playgirls And The Vampire, revolves around a quintet of beautiful showgirls - Vera (Lyla Rocco), Katia (Maria Giovannini),
      ...
      04-03-2024, 03:30 PM
    • The Abandoned (Unearthed Films) Blu-ray Review
      Ian Jane
      Administrator
      by Ian Jane


      Released by: Unearthed Films
      Released on: April 9th, 2024.
      Director: Nacho Cerdà
      Cast: Anastasia Hille, Karel Roden, Valentin Goshev
      Year: 2006
      Purchase From Amazon

      The Abandoned – Movie Review:

      Directed by Nacho Cerdà, who co-wrote with Richard Stanley and Karim Hussain, 2006's The Abandoned opens in Russia in 1966 where a poor family sits at the dinner table only to be interrupted when a large truck stops suddenly in front
      ...
      03-28-2024, 04:29 PM
    Working...
    X